The presence of tall, burly bouncers is no longer restricted to the pubs and bars of Mumbai. To tame uncooperative members, cooperative housing society committees are indulging in a bit of muscle flexing. And the ‘men in black’ are there to lend a helping hand. DD Tripathi, director of A One Care Taker services in Worli, who recently delegated over a hundred bouncers from his company for the annual general body meeting (AGM) of a new mega residential complex where members were anticipating trouble from their builder, opined that the new trend is in all probability due to the fact that muscle power is replacing rational reasoning in building meetings.
“In the recent past, hiring services of bouncers for society meetings was totally unheard of. At the most, if any tension were anticipated, the building watchmen would be asked to be present at the venue by the secretary. Now, in many cases, members do not shy away from resorting to physical confrontation, if their viewpoint is challenged. Hence, our bouncers are hired as a deterrent. The presence of well-built bouncers is also now being used to gain a psychological edge, to put across personal viewpoints in an assertive way, so they are more readily accepted by other members,” said Tripathi.
He added that the new avenue of earning is a blessing for many gym-going youngsters, who are now earning up to thousand rupees a day as pocket money from such part-time assignments. Ram Birari Mishra, who runs United Services in Jogeshwari, too stated that lack of mutual understanding and respect amongst committee members was resulting in a bouncer boom. “Many people hire our bouncers for weddings and other events, purely for making a statement. But this is not the case in managing committee meetings, where members perceive an actual threat.”
Parvez Usman, along with other 385 members of a cooperative society, did not relish the presence of burly bouncers –allegedly hired by the builder of their commercial complex in Santacruz (West) — at their AGM held earlier this week, and marched down to the local police station to lodge a grievance. “The unit owners were shocked by the presence of six bouncers — including two ladies – dressed in black safaris, hired by the managing committee members at the meeting. It was an outright insult, threat and pressure tactic to subdue our voices. The meeting venue resembled a cheesy bar more than a society AGM,” he said.
Names of societies, where bouncers have been called for meetings in recent times:
- Ghandhi Cooperative Housing Society, Worli
- Prem Nagar CHS, Worli
- Flower Queen Society, Andheri (E)
- Dheeraj Heritage Santacruz (W)
What does the law say?
According to advocate Vineet Randive, the cooperative law stipulates that only members are allowed to attend the general body meetings, and presence of bouncers can be perceived as a threat, especially when important decisions or elections are on the agenda. “In such a situation, members can approach the registrar of Co-operative Housing Society, which is the governing body authorised to initiate action, as per the Government norms. Senior advocate Murlikar Deshpande, who is an authority on cooperative housing society laws, stated that being an association of members, a cooperative society is bound by rules and in case a riot-like situation is anticipated during a meeting, members ought to bring it to the notice of the local police station.